I was just flipping through my paperback abridgement of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, as one does on a leisurely Sunday evening, and I happened on this stub of a word: sprunt.
Well, now. What could it was? It starts with the spr that we see in spring and sprinkle and spruce and sprain and sprawl, and it ends with the unt that we see in hunt and shunt and bunt and punt and runt. The word as a whole looks like an irregular past participle of sprint – as in I sprint, I sprant, I have sprunt. There are several ways it could go. Or, of course, the meaning could be entirely unrelated to what it sounds like it means, although with two sound clusters that have vivid associations, that’s not so likely; even if it started out unrelated, the sense would tend to drift towards what people think it should mean. Continue reading